Sager Braudis Gallery intern and University of Missouri student Kimberly Ring curated the Suite B exhibit, Mother, May I? as the culminating project of her internship. In addition to learning the ropes of gallery operations, each intern brings and applies a unique perspective and develops his or her own curatorial voice, reflecting on what they find most important, communicative, and effective in a collection of artwork. In the exhibit and in this week’s blog post, Kimberly shares her thoughts on the connecting thread between a seemingly diverse group of works by four artists. The exhibit may be visited by appointment through January 5th, and will be celebrated with a closing reception on First Friday, January 4th and a Slow Art Saturday open house on January 5th.
Mother, May I? is a collection of works expressing what it means to be a woman and to be charged with a maternal nature. Like any aspect of the natural world, this essence has no standardized form and realizes itself for each individual as she is involved in others’ growth. To be maternal, put simply, is to be wholly involved in the maturation of another individual by way of protection, guidance, and unconditional love. This collection of representational works examines what it means to pass down traditions learned and inspired by our mothers, and how there are times when we must learn to be the mother we need in order to teach ourselves and others.
Having developed a traditional craft into an elaborately sculptural medium, even inventing a technique for sewing glass in the process, Susan Taylor Glasgow employs the teachings handed down to her, interwoven with that which she taught herself. Carina Jimenez uses her experience as fuel to depict the darkness that can be overwhelming along the journey to find the light in oneself. Jimenez’s role in this collection is that of the self-nurturer, applying maternal wisdom inward in an act of self-reflection and awareness. Elaine Bezold highlights the universality of motherhood and the destruction of the old, to be born into the new. She depicts broken bonds of new life in images that connect to her viewer’s tendency to protect and nurture. Alejandrina Herrera creates intimacy and tenderness through her pencil work, inviting viewers to stay and engage. Her work could be considered the culmination of the collection as she uses her own daughter to engage the memories of the past and a reproduce a treasure of feminine essence, childhood.
This exhibit examines how we teach our girls, who then become women, to redefine feminine roles in the modern context. Despite the radically different manifestations of domestic activity, as compared to that of our ancestors, the power of the maternal is not lost. To be a teacher, a caretaker, and a guide is to connect to that part of the feminine essence inviting us to join in the growth of an individual, even when that individual is ourselves. As women, it can become tedious attempting to distinguish between the roles we take on ourselves and those imposed on us by our society. The artists in this series redefine what it means to fulfill the maternal in passing on the teachings of domesticity and nurturing and the constant journey for self-identification; to break the bonds of insecurity and inadequacy, regardless of the roles we choose to take on. In doing so, these women validate and celebrate what it means to be blessed with the feminine essence. This body of work intends to emphasize the important role maternal figures play in our lives and what it means to say Mother, May I?